India and China are projected to be number one and two biggest economy of the world. No doubt, the dragon and the elephant are progressing fast in the economic development but in the field of knowledge development U.S.A and Europe are still leading with a big margin. Of late, both India and China have given their attention to knowledge sector, particularly to higher education. This is the need of the hour as the population of students in post-secondary higher education is huge in both these countries. Out of the world’s approximately 100 million post-secondary students, India and China together account for more than 40% of the world’s total enrolment. Their university systems have become the largest in the world. They are also major exporters of students to Universities in Europe and North America.
Management education in both India and China has big stakes in producing managers, entrepreneurs and future leaders for their booming economies. During the past two decades, management education in both countries has grown exponentially and produced hundreds of thousands of business managers. During this period, globalization has gained pride of place in the agenda of political leaders and policy makers in both countries. Both Indian and Chinese companies have expanded their operations across the globe and realized both the promises and pitfalls of globalization. In the same period, several Indian and Chinese companies, both from the public and private sectors, have become truly global owning to their sizable operations across the globe.
Currently Indian and Chinese B-Schools are in a big race for becoming globally competitive and for gaining entry into the list of top 100 or top 200 B-Schools in the world. They are under tremendous pressure from government, recruiters and policy makers to improve their positioning at international level. Since published research work is a major determinant of global rankings and positioning, top B-Schools from India and China are being continuously evaluated on this count.
Globalisation Odyssey of Chinese B- Schools
China has been a late starter in management education to various political and historical reasons. The Chinese government pushed big economic reforms during the 90s and also started expanding their management education. In 1991, China approved 9 universities for management programmes and currently it has more than 237 universities which are qualified for admitting MBA students ( Dr. Ningyu Tang, 2012).
In China, it is said everything moves on government’s support. It is true about management education, too. During the 90s the Chinese Government formed an MBA Committee in the Ministry of Education and helped CEIBS, a leading Chinese B-School to obtain overseas collaborations. It was observed by the Chinese government in 2004 that there were only 5,000 managers with global experience available in the country, whereas the need was for around 75,000 managers. This huge gap in demand and supply has been a major factor for the recent spurt in management education in China.
Roadmap for Globalisation
Chinese Universities are mostly supported by federal, state or local governments. Many of them have become very ambitious in their own aim to become world class research oriented Universities by 2020. Taking a clue from these universities, Chinese B-Schools have also charted out their roadmap to achieve global status by 2020. It was around the year 2000 when they had envisioned to achieve top positions in the domestic market. They have endeavoured to get collaborations with foreign B-Schools during the period 2000-2010. Now several Chinese B-Schools are well poised to become well and truly global by 2020.
While globalising themselves, Chinese B-Schools initially followed traditional collaborative activities with foreign B-Schools viz. exchange of students and faculty, collaborative teaching and dual degree programmes. Before expanding overseas Universities from Peking, Tsinghua and SJTU set up their campuses at Shenzhen which is an important industrial city. For setting up overseas campuses, SJTU and Nanjing university have set up their MBA campuses at Singapore in partnership with NTU and NUS, two leading universities of Singapore. While searching for foreign partners, the leading Chinese B-Schools like Tsing Hua, Peking, SJTU and Fudan have been very selective. They have identified Ivey-league B-Schools from North America, Europe, Singapore, and Hong Kong, South Korea viz. HBS, MIT Sloan Wharton, Stanford, Ivey, Euromed, Manchester, NUS, HKU, Essec, Schulich, Mccombs etc.
For globalising themselves, leading Chinese B-Schools have used the concept of Total Quality Management very effectively. They have expanded their intellectual capital by recruiting faculty from abroad and sending many of their own faculty to partner B-Schools for training. They increased the intake of foreign students by marketing Admission through their alumni and by using their international rankings. It is very pertinent to note that leading Chinese B-Schools have worked hard to get accreditation from international agencies like AACSB, EFMD and AMBA. Already Tsing Hua, Peking, SJTU and Fudan have been accredited by one of these agencies. For reaching this stage, these B-Schools revisited their vision and mission and redesigned their curricula and courses.
Globalisation Story of Indian B-Schools
Post 90s, with the opening up of the Indian economy, leading Indian B-Schools have also started globalising their curriculum, admissions, placements, executive education. Efforts have been made to sign MoUs with foreign B-Schools so as to facilitate exchanges of students and faculty. Endeavours of Indian B-Schools were reinforced by similar attempts of European and North America B-Schools who were very keen to forge alliances with Indian B-Schools.
To become global in their operations, some Indian B-Schools have taken the initiative to start campuses abroad. Among public funded institutions, IIFT was the first to start its satellite campuses at Dubai and Dar-es-Salem. It had partnered with a local B-School in Tanzania to offer its programme in international Business. IIM, Bangalore has also tried to start its campus abroad, but it could not get the concurrence of MHRD, Government of India which was focusing on expansion of IIMs inside the country rather than abroad. S.P Jain, Mumbai is a good example of setting up campuses abroad. It started its first off-shore campus at Dubai but later expanded to Sydney and Singapore. Similarly IMT, Ghaziabad went to Dubai to start its campus with the support of the UAE Government. Foreign campuses of Indian B-Schools faced difficulty in attracting local students for admission. Initially students aspiring to taken admission at the main campus at India were offered admission abroad. Recession post-2007 had thrown a spanner in the expansion plans of India B-Schools as the market shrank in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Another indicator of Indian B-Schools’ emphasis on globalization is the curricula reform which led to the inclusion of contents related to globalization in their courses. Initially, IIMs, ISB, FMS and ISB had introduced one core paper on International Business, which was later followed by other B-Schools. Gradually courses related to globalization were introduced in electives like Marketing, Finance, OB/HR and Operations. The most popular elective courses introduced by Indian B’Schools have been International Marketing, International Finance, International HRM, Cross Cultural Management and Global Supply Chain.
Students exchange, faculty exchange and international placement have also been attempted by Indian B-Schools in their yearning for globalization. Student and faculty exchanges have expanded very fast. Currently more than 50 business schools are actively pursuing student and faculty exchange programmes. Mostly foreign students from Europe have come to Indian B-Schools with little representation from Asian nations.
International accreditation is a big differentiator for quality on local turf, but it also enables Indian B-Schools to be accepted by Ivy League B-Schools for partnerships of various kinds. India being a big market for international accreditation agencies like AACSB, EFMD and AMBA has attracted them to start their operations in India, in a big way, after 2005. Leading B-Schools from India have decided on different agencies for international accreditation. ISB, Hyderabad and TAPMI have already been given accreditation by the AACSB, USA. MDI, Gurgaon, S.P Jain Mumbai, and IMI, Delhi have been accredited by the AMBA, UK. IIM, Ahmedabad is trying to get EQIS from EFMD, Brussels. According to Ms Eleva Peacock, South Asia Head, AACSB, more than 10 Indian B-Schools are preparing to obtain accreditation.
Global Research by Indian B-Schools
Academic research is a valid measure of quality in any centre of excellence in higher education. B-Schools also motivate their faculty to get their research papers published in international journals which are mostly double-blind peer reviewed. How do our Indian B-Schools fare on this parameter which speaks about their global standing in business education? Prof Nirmalya Kumar, LBS, UK (ET, February 7, 2011) has made an attempt to compile a number of research papers in management published by faculty from Indian B-Schools. He has chosen a list of 40 international journals listed by the Financial Times in their annual global MBA rankings. According to Prof Nirmalya Kumar, during the period 1990-2009, 108 articles were published by Indian authors which equates to five articles per year. Compared to India, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) currently produces about 30 articles annually and Wharton, USA, double that number. Figures quoted by Prof Kumar do not speak well about the current status of research in Indian B-Schools.
However, there is another school of thought which does not accept Western models of research and publications totally. In December 2011, on the occasion of the Second Indian Academy of Management Conference hosted by IIM Bangalore, a symposium was held to take stock of Indian management research and explore future directions. Five management scholars who addressed the symposium, did not agree with the broader conclusions of Prof Kumar (2011) that the current state of Indian management research is not satisfactory. They also disagreed with Prof Kumar’s proposition that publishing in the 40 top-tier US/Western journals listed by the Financial Times, UK is the only panacea for the global positioning of Indian B-Schools. The Union Rural Development Minister (then Environment Minister) also stirred honest nest by saying that IIT/IIM faculty is not world-class (NDTV, 2011).
Khatri, Ojha, Budhwar Srinivasan and Verma (Vikalpa, 2012) have suggested that Indian B-Schools should establish their own top-tier journals to promote rigour and relevance in management research in India. For this, they have also given the example of Chinese management scholars who have founded Asia Academy of Management (AAM). Under the auspices of AAM, Chinese Scholars and B-Schools succeed in bringing together a critical mass of scholars working in East Asia, and have also started journals like Asia Pacific Journal of Management and Management and Organistion Review.
Can Indian and Chinese B-Schools work together for globalization?
Dr Jagdish N Sheth, the Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University, USA has published a book in 2008 titled “Chindia Rising”. In the preface, Dr Sheth has said, “The rise of Chindia is not only inevitable, but it will be beneficial to the world economy. It will generate unprecedented innovation, probably more dramatic and breathtaking than the first Industrial revolution, by making existing technologies more affordable and accessible and by inventing ways to replicate natural resources”.
Chinese and Indian B-Schools can reinvent a new model of management education and research by working with rigour and relevance specific to Asia and other emerging economies of the world. They can join hands to develop new methods and processes of international ranking as well as accreditation. They can find new meanings of globalization by sharing their experiences, best practices and learning in management education focused on the needs of the East. Similar to the newly coined concept of “reverse innovation”, can there be “reverse globalization” management education?